Spencer Miliotto, Officer

Spencer Miliotto is the graduate assistant for Buffalo State College’s English Education program. He will receive his M.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education (7-12) in the spring of 2020. Spencer has worked as the technology instructor at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine's Science and Technology Entry Program for five years, and taught College Writing at Buffalo State during the fall of 2019 semester. His teaching interests focus on creating classroom spaces where students can start to see themselves as agents of change in their communities.

Kristen Pastore-Capuana, Assistant Director

Kristen Pastore-Capuana, assistant professor of English education, joined the SUNY Buffalo State faculty in 2017 after teaching high school English in Western New York for 14 years. Pastore-Capuana received her B.A. at Boston College, and her Ed.M and Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo. Her research interests include critical literacy pedagogy, secondary English language arts teacher development, and teacher advocacy. 

Dr. James Cercone, Director

James Cercone is an Assitant Professor of English Education at Buffalo State. He is also a member of the Tapestry Charter School Board of Trustees, and the Western New York Teacher Center Policy Board. Prior to joining Buffalo State, James was a Clinical Professor of English Education at the University at Buffalo and a former high school English teacher.


Scott Reimann, Business Manager
Scott Reimann has a B.A. in English from John Carroll University, a M.A. in English from Stony Brook University, and a certification in English Education from the University at Buffalo. Scott has taught both middle and high school at local public and charter schools. Currently, he teaches English and communications courses at Bryant and Stratton College.

Shannon Burke, President

Shannon Burke has a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in English Education, both from the University at Buffalo. Shannon has taught both middle and high school at a variety of local public, charter, and private schools. She has presented at NCTE’s annual conference and serves as a mentor for preservice teachers.  As a founding member of WNYNET, Shannon has presented at several local events, focusing primarily on middle school literacy and student-led discussion. She is currently an Instructional Coach for teachers in grades 6 through 8 and cochair of the Social Justice Crew at Elmwood Village Charter School.

Rene Bonilla, Officer

Rene Bonilla has a B.S. in Childhood Education (1-6) with an English extension (7-9) from Buffalo State College. As an undergraduate student, she was an English Education Student Association officer. Rene also presented at the 2019 NCTE conference. She currently teaches fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade English Language Arts and Theme Writing at St. Andrew’s Country Day School.

The Western New York Network of English Teachers
is a professional social network linking classroom ELA

teachers,teacher educators, and school administrators

with the goal of encouraging and supporting meaningful, progressive teaching in the English Language Arts.


Alyssa O'Connor, Officer

Alyssa O'Connor is a fourth year English teacher at WNY Maritime Charter Middle School. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Buffalo State College and is currently completing her Master’s degree in English Education. Alyssa has presented at the Alumni Speaker Series and presented at the 2018 NCTE conference. She is a mentor teacher for Buffalo State College and former English Education Student Association (EESA) officer. In her classroom, Alyssa focuses on the integration of art into ELA.

Deborah Bertlesman, Officer
Deborah earned her B.A. in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo and a M.Ed. from the University at Buffalo. She is continuing her work as a doctoral student at the University at Buffalo in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Science of Learning program. Her research interests include the relationship between New Literacies Studies and Social Justice and how teachers develop identities in Communities of Practice. She is the 9th grade English Teacher at Frederick Law Olmsted in Buffalo Public Schools. Her work focuses on integration of critical literacy, new literacies, and authentic purposeful writing.

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Vanessa Ludwig, Vice President​ 

Vanessa has a B.S. and an M.S.Ed. in English Education from Buffalo State College. As an undergraduate student, she co-founded the English Education Student Association and as a graduate student, she was involved in the beginning stages of the English Education Alumni Network. Vanessa currently teaches 8th grade English Language Arts at Sweet Home Middle School.